Author: Rhynes, J.D.

Maintenance on your Festival gear

Folks, we have close to four weeks until the gathering of the
faithful, better known as a Father's Day bluegrass Festival in grass
Valley California. Now is the time to do maintenance on everything
that you're going to take with you for the festival. Especially your
vehicle. I'm reminded every year of the time my buddy Pat Conway left
his house pulling a trailer headed to the festival. He was happily
motoring along Highway 99 when a tire and wheel passed him, and
looking at his side view mirror all he could see was sparks from the
trailer axle dragging on the highway. Needless to say, he did not
make it to the Festival that year. It had been several years since he
had the wheel bearings packed on the trailer, and had it overturned
he could've been killed. 25 bucks to have the wheel bearing packed
would have prevented all of this.

Every year about a month before the festival I take my truck to my
mechanic and have the front wheel bearings packed, the lube in the
transmission and differential changed, have all the brake pads, belts,
hoses, and electrical system thoroughly checked. This is something that
needs to be done on a regular basis anyway so why not have it done before
one of the most important trips of the year. Setting aside the road
watching steam pour out of your radiator because you didn't check a five
dollar fan belt that is now going to cost you well over 100 bucks is one
of the most sickening feelings in the world. But the worst part is having
your significant other telling you; I told you to have these checked but
oh no, don't listen to me because I don't know anything about mechanics!
All the while you're hoping one of your bluegrass buddies will show up to
help pull your sorry butt out of the situation that you're in. Please
believe me I've been there!

Maintenance also applies to everything that you're going to take
with you, especially your camp stove, and lanterns. Take them out
fill them with fuel and make sure they light properly. Now is the
time to find out if they need to be worked over, not when you're at
the festival and there's a hot jam going on that you wish you could
be in but you have got to get the stove going so you can fix supper
for the love of your life. And it's usually dark when you have to
work on something like this and come to find out your lantern won't
light. You talk about make your life miserable! Also, check all your
sleeping bags to make sure they were not a winter home for a family
of mice. Unroll them and air them out, because sleeping bags are
prone to gather moisture when stored for the winter. Not only will
they be warmer, they will smell nice and clean also.

How long ago did you buy your folding chairs? Is the nylon webbing
still strong and not weathered? I once had a folding chair that
could not have been over 10 or 12 years old, and when I sat in it
for the evening show, it split like a paper grocery bag. It took two
of my buddies to help me get out of it, because it had me wrapped up
like an aluminum and nylon octopus. The people seated around me got
quite a kick out of that, and I know my face was red as I drug that
mass aluminum tubing to the nearest dumpster.

If you use an air mattress to sleep on, whatever you do make sure
you blow it up and let it set for a day or two to check for leaks.
Even still, it will never leak when you are at home! The only time
an air mattress will spring a leak is about 2 AM, and you are going
to catch the Dickens from your sweetheart come daylight! The air
mattress that you paid 10 bucks for 10 years ago, is now going to
cost you about 40 bucks at the local Walmart, plus a $30 breakfast
for the love of your life. Guys, am I getting through to you? I
certainly hope so. Now is the time to take care of all this
maintenance stuff, not beside the road, or at the festival,
especially if you want the love of your life to have a pleasant
experience, not the unpleasant time from hell!

All of this knowledge that I am spewing forth has been gained from
a lifetime of unpleasant experiences. I'm a firm believer in
Murphy's Law, that if it can happen it will. Make your festival
experience this year one of happiness and good times that you could
look back over in years to come, and say, that old boy JD knowed
what he was talking about! Thank you music lovers, and good day.
Yer friend, JD Rhynes
Posted:  5/24/2012

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